This past weekend I was on hand at Friends Arena to photograph the final of the 2013 UEFA Women’s Euro tournament. It’s the first and only game I photographed in this tournament. While the tournament was hosted here in Sweden it seems that Stockholm declined to host any games except the final. A little strange for a city that has two brand new football arenas to show off.
In the past I’ve had the opportunity to go and photograph other UEFA matches, however this was the first time I got to see the full organizational process for one of UEFA’s bigger tournaments. Accreditation was handled via UEFA themselves. Our agency is registered on UEFA’s site and then us photographers were also registered into their system. Once that was completed you received a tournament pass which was valid for the entire Euro, you could then log in and request accreditation per individual match.
The final was held on Sunday afternoon with a kickoff at 16:00, a little disappointing as in my opinion a final should be played in the evening. I arrived at the venue at around 13:00, an hour later UEFA held a meeting with all the photographers. A representative introduced himself and went through the program for the entire afternoon. This was rather nice as it gave you a good heads up on how things would be handled after the match for eventual trophy ceremony.
Once the meeting was over I made my way pitch side. There was no assigned places, so you were free to find a place and lay claim to it by leaving a stool and some equipment. In Stockholm with big matches we always send at least two photographers, so I placed myself on one short side and my colleague on the opposing short side. On both of the short sides UEFA had drawn both power and ethernet cables. UEFA gets a huge thumbs up to that. As the match finally got underway Norway was clearly the stronger side. They were creating chances and looked very likely to score.
Norway was awarded a penalty in the first half, but it was saved by Germany’s keeper and it marked the beginning of a night were nothing would go Norway’s way. After the missed penalty Norway continued to dominate in the first half but were not able to find a goal. At the half all was square.
Durring the half time interval the Swedish national team, who was eliminated by Germany in the semi-finals, made an appearance to thank the public for their support during the tournament. They got the biggest applause of the evening, the crowd who was going mostly for Norway clearly had a lot of locals in it.
In the second half things went from bad to worse for Norway. Germany through a quick counter took the lead. The match progressed and Norway was given an opportunity to make it even when they received a second penalty. However they were again denied by Germany’s keeper. They finally scored a goal only to have it flagged offside. In the end as the clock ticked down, and in the face of a German team who completely focused on defending, Norway was beaten and Germany crowned the winners of the 2013 Women’s Euro.
One could argue that Norway deserved more, but then again when you miss two penalties you can’t complain much. Not having photographed any other matches in this tournament I didn’t know what to expect going into this match. I can now say that I was pleasantly surprised by a really thrilling encounter.
That’s it for today, lots of good stuff coming up next week including a friendly between AIK and Manchester United. These images and more available via Pic-Agency.